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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

EC orders repoll in Assam’s Ratabari after reports of EVMs in BJP candidate’s car

All four officers of the polling party have been placed under suspension for breaching EC's transport protocol.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi |
Updated: April 2, 2021 9:56:38 pm
Assam assmebly elections, Assam polling, EVMs in BJP candidate's car, Assam BJP, Priyanka Gandhi, election commission, EVM tampering, Assam news, Indian expressThe video was tweeted out by Assam-based journalist Atanu Bhuyan, who mentioned that the “situation is tense in Patharkandi” following the incident. (Source: Screengrab)

The Election Commission (EC) has ordered a repoll for a polling station in the Ratabari Assembly seat of Assam after reports emerged late last night of an EVM being transported in a private vehicle belonging to a BJP candidate.

Acknowledging a “violation of transport protocol,” the Commission, in a press statement released Friday morning, said it has issued a show-cause notice to the Presiding Officer and also suspended him along with three other officers for the lapse.

The EC’s decision comes against the backdrop of the controversy that broke out last night after a group of people intercepted a car in the Karimganj district carrying an EVM used for voting in Polling Station 149 Indira M.V. School.

Once videos of this incident surfaced on social media, the poll panel called for a report from the Assam Chief Electoral Officer and its general observer in the state. According to the Commission’s factual report, the car in which the polling party was transporting the EVM had broken down on its way to the strong room. The polling party, made up of the Presiding Officer and three other officers, then hitched a ride in a private vehicle without checking its ownership details.

The EC statement further says that the officers realised their mistake only after the car was intercepted by a group of 50 people near Kanaishil in Karimganj. “The mob also started abusing them and did not allow the vehicle to pass. When they asked the leader of the mob, he replied that it was the vehicle of Sri Krishnendu Paul who is a contesting candidate of a neighbouring constituency (Patharkandi LAC-2) and he levelled allegations that the EVM was being taken to be tampered with,” states EC’s release.

The polling party was held hostage for almost an hour by the mob till the DEO and SP of Karimganj arrived at the spot. Of the four officers in the car, one had gone missing and was found by a search party hiding in the undergrowth nearby only this morning. “On examination, the polled EVM comprising of BU, CU and VVPAT was found to be with its seal intact without any damage whatsoever. All the items have been deposited in the strong room,” says EC’s statement.

All four officers of the polling party have been placed under suspension for breaching EC’s transport protocol.

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